/ July 11, 2008

Liability Endangers Field of Wiffle Ball Dreams

The game of Wiffle Ball often embodies a nostalgic desire for simpler times: kids playing in the great outdoors, lazy summers, good old fashioned fun. But lawyers, politicians, and permits? Not what we had in mind…

The sport is currently under attack in the city of Greenwich, CT., where a group of local teenage boys converted an abandoned public lot into an official Wiffle Ball field, complete with Red Sox Green Monster wall and American flag. The field has attracted a large high school following, and the kids staunchly defend their unique love of the game. One player asserts:

“It’s just old-fashioned fun. We did it on our own. Maybe people think that’s unusual.”

And the Wiffle Ball league has plenty of community support. The local paper lauded the youths for stepping outside the typical box of video games and television, and one city official applauds them for escaping the “incredibly structured and stressful environment” in which they grew up.

But not everyone in Greenwich is as keen on the new field. Some adults are demanding more supervision and cite concerns for legal liability. The lot on which the field was built may be worth up to $1.25 million dollars, although it was left as an undeveloped drainage area for nearby homes. Some argue that an impromptu field in a less affluent or litigious community would fare much better than the Greenwich Wiffle Ball group’s.

The field’s neighbors are also voicing concerns. When they purchased their homes, they were not expecting the disturbance created by the field’s growing crowds. The kids also cleared the lot of brush essential to collect drainage water. Now, the city must decide whether the field can stay, or whether the kids must find another all-American pastime to enjoy.

How do you feel about the Wiffle Ball war? Please leave your comments below.

Source: The New York Times

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